I would have put myself in the place of the dead and relived their suffering a lifetime over so that I wouldn't have to bear the weight of the deafening silence of hundreds of souls being snuffed out all at once.
The ringing hammered away at my eardrums and brought with it a pain in my head that hurt so much that my whole body would be stunned whenever I tried to stand. The entirety of my arms up to my fingertips tingled with a sensation like needles poking my skin, and a warm encroach of blood spilled down my head and hands. I coughed with each breath I took as a result of the dust and smoke from the rubble that surrounded me.
The entire town was razed by fire and our homes were reduced to ruins of toppled stone and bricks. The air was thick with ash and the smell of sulfur. My eyes burned, creating a blurred image of the desolation every time I opened my eyes to see where I was going. But I will be forever haunted by the brief glimpses of what I could see when my vision was clear.
Each body I stumbled past was my friend, neighbor, and a good, righteous person.
I followed the route I always took home after my studies by the lake. I passed the bakery that belonged to the old, kind man who always had free bread to spare while we struggled to make money when the war started. There was an enormous hole in his shop that took out his roof and the entirety of the second floor. It's where he and his family slept.
The park was engulfed in a blue blaze that crackled and flickered with the wind. The swings still swayed and the merry-go-round spun as if haunted by the children who had played on them.
Shrouded in a purple haze, like fireflies that swirled wildly, and accompanied by the sound of electricity jumping through the air between each firefly, I walked through the remnants of my home which was nothing more than its foundation and some small standing walls. The sparks that veiled my home shocked me relentlessly as I searched for my father and my mother. But what I found felt wrong to call my parents. What I found were not the people who loved me and raised me to love.
What I found were two scorched and blackened bodies that simmered with purple sparks, lying face down in the earth outside in our backyard.
He wore my father's rings, now permanently engraved into his fingers. She wore my mother's necklace and earrings, now like small glowing marbles.
From the top of the hill where I stood, I looked down upon what was once Trierchen. The raging blue inferno hadn't spared anyone in its path, but me. Why would a poor, disgraceful boy be spared by an unforgiving, mighty force? Why did all the good people die? I still don't know the answer even after seven years of searching for one. Maybe God has the answer.
War is a curse, a plague, and inevitable. War does not discriminate in choosing its victims, and when a war kills the family of a young man, he vows to open the gates to heaven, confront whoever he finds there, and demand justification for the horrors of his world. But what will it take to bridge the gap between heaven and earth and walk amongst the stars?